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Author: Craig Fugate
How much of an impact can a small group of volunteers make after a disaster? Last Wednesday, I had the honor of addressing the Hurricane Sandy Champions of Change – a group of “ordinary” people who did (and are still doing) extraordinary things to help those who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Many of them suffered damage to their homes and businesses as a result of the storm, but continued to fulfill the needs they saw in their communities.CAPTION: Washington, D.C., April 24, 2013 – The White House Champions of Change event which honored people and organizations directly...
Posted On: April 29, 2013
Author: Craig Fugate
When you're tackling a new and challenging topic, starting from a solid foundation is crucial to success.  Right now, there is an opportunity to change how the federal government provides disaster assistance and we’re looking for tribal leaders to help set a solid foundation for those changes.When President Obama signed into law the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013, he amended the Stafford Act to recognize the sovereignty of tribal governments, and this was a big step in the right direction to better meet the unique needs of Indian Country after disasters.   However,...
Posted On: April 8, 2013
Author: Craig Fugate
Last week at FEMA HQ, I met with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for Amateur Radio.  The ARRL is coming up on its Centennial Celebration next year and has been a valuable partner in emergency management through the decades.CAPTION: Left to Right: ARRL General Counsel Christopher Imlay, W3KD; ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ; AARL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN; FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ; FEMA Chief Technology Officer Ted Okada, K4HNL.For those of you that are not...
Posted On: March 29, 2013
Author: Craig Fugate
On January 29, President Obama signed the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013. In addition to providing assistance to individuals, families, and communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy, the act also included a very important amendment that impacts tribal governments.Here are the basics: the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act provides a legislative change to amend the Stafford Act (which is an act that outlines how the federal government provides assistance to communities impacted by disasters).  This amendment will provide federally recognized tribal governments the option to choose...
Posted On: January 31, 2013
Author: Craig Fugate
Ceiling panels missing. Wires dangling. Layers of dust. Floor tiles removed and concrete exposed. Five feet sections of walls cut from the ground up, and in some cases, completely removed. Flood lights and construction lights strung along corridors. The constant hum of fans.  Hard work. And determination.These were all things that Mike Byrne and I witnessed on Friday after spending a few hours visiting with employees at Bellevue Hospital and Coney Island Hospital.  A few weeks ago I also visited NYU Hospital, and the reason for the visits – because I believe it’s important to get a...
Posted On: December 17, 2012
Author: Craig Fugate
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the partnership of everyone who makes up the emergency management team – individuals and communities, organizations and companies, and all levels of government – because no one can do it alone when it comes to planning for a disaster, responding to one, or recovering after one.  This year we have definitely had our work cut out for us – from wildfires, to the derecho, to Hurricane Isaac, and Hurricane Sandy, we’ve tackled each disaster by working together as a team.As a result of Hurricane Sandy, this Thanksgiving may be different for many compared to...
Posted On: November 21, 2012
Author: Craig Fugate
One week ago today, millions of Americans from North Carolina to Maine braced for Hurricane Sandy.  That evening for over 12 hours, hurricane and tropical storm force winds, storm surge, and flooding impacted 12 states, with over eight million people losing power. Transportation systems in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, DC came to a halt, and more than 12,000 commercial flights were grounded.  And for the first time since 1888, the New York Stock Exchange was closed for two consecutive days because of a natural disaster.Days before the storm stuck, at the direction...
Posted On: November 5, 2012
Author: Craig Fugate
CAPTION: Administrator Craig Fugate (left) and Deputy Administrator Rich Serino practice "Drop. Cover. Hold On." as part of the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill held October 18.Those of us in emergency management have a lot to say about getting prepared.  We urge folks to learn about the hazards in their area, get an emergency kit, and have a plan for what to do if a disaster should strike.  Despite those commonly-used messages, there’s one thing I wish we encouraged people to do more – practice.  Practicing your emergency plan makes you comfortable with it. And it also makes it...
Posted On: October 18, 2012
Author: Craig Fugate
Last month I emphasized my support for amending the Stafford Act to allow federally recognized tribal governments to make a request directly to the President for a federal emergency or major disaster declaration.  Today, the House of Representatives passed the 2012 FEMA Reauthorization Act, including Section 210, which includes such an amendment to the Stafford Act, and affirms the sovereignty of tribal governments.  If Congress passes and the President signs such legislation into law, my office will act promptly in the development of appropriate regulations and policies for...
Posted On: September 19, 2012
Author: Craig Fugate
It’s been three weeks since Tropical Depression #9 became “Isaac” in the central Atlantic.  Over that time, we saw a slowly growing and changing storm and a closely coordinated emergency management team that was ready to respond to it. The team included local, state, tribal and federal government, the private sector, faith-based organizations and volunteer agencies– and FEMA was proud to be part of it.I traveled across the Gulf Coast, before, during and after the storm, and witnessed years of advanced planning become a smart response. Investments in mitigation paid off, preventing the...
Posted On: September 11, 2012

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